Know How...

Mar 1st 2018

Know How... 371

Soldering Without Poisoning!

Basic soldering techniques, soldering tools, splicing wires, hacking Teslas
Although the show is no longer in production, you can enjoy episodes from the TWiT Archives.
Category: Help & How To


  1. Soldering Station
  2. Wire Stripper
  3. Helping Hands
  4. Paste, Wick and Soldapult
  5. Heat Shrink Tubing

Some Basics:

  1. Assume you will damage the surface on which you are working! (Seriously... you've been warned)
  2. Silicone-Insulated Wire is better than Plastic-Insulated Wire
  3. Heat the Wire/Pad/Part... NOT the solder. You want the solder to flow ONTO the Wire/Pad/Part
  4. Keep your tip Clean!
  5. Heat Matters! - You need enough heat in the tip to flow the solder BEFORE the heat destroys the Wire/Pad/Part
  6. Tips Matter! - The shape and side of your tip determines how much heat it holds and how quickly it will transfer that heat to the wire/pad/part
  7. The Iron is either being USED, or it's in its cradle.
  8. Don't forget the heat shrink! (Otherwise you'll be cutting the solder joint you just made!)

Let's Flow it!

  1. Cut and strip
  2. Tin the iron (Lets you know when it's hot enough)
  3. Heat the wire
  4. Apply the solder to the wire and let it flow into the strands

Let's Flux It!

  1. Cut and strip
  2. Apply paste
  3. Heat the wire
  4. Apply solder and let it flow into the strands

Let's Join it!

  • We're going to show you a few different styles of splicing wires together

Pigtail/Rattail Splice

  • (Wires are parallel - Exposed ends are twisted and soldered, then insulated)
  • Typically used inside of junction boxes
  • Pro: VERY easy to do
  • Con: Cannot take much mechanical stress

Western Union Splice

  • Wires are joined at the middle, then backwound
  • Make sure to add the heat shrink BEFORE you solder
  • Pro: Strong
  • Con: Trickier to master

Mesh Splice

  • Strands are pushed together and the wires are twisted and smoothed down
  • Also needs HS BEFORE soldering
  • Pro: VERY STRONG, looks good
  • Con: PITA

Through-Hole and Pad Soldering

  1. Cut and Strip
  2. Tin
  3. Heat the pad, not the wire/solder

The Tesla Project

Let's Poke Around

  1. The Car uses a 14V LiPo cell that's inserted into the back of the car
  2. It has a mechanical steering linkage
  3. It has a switch for reversing power
  4. It has a foot pedal for activating the motors (They're on or off... no speed control)
  5. It uses dual motors

So... we can deduce a few things:

  1. The Lipo PROBABLY flows through the power switch (forward or reverse) then the pedal to the motors.
  2. The motors run in opposite directions to drive the wheels in the same direction
  3. We're going to need a heavy-duty servo that can move the steering linkage.

We're going to need some heavy-duty gear

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